My long story, short……
In 1994 I put on my brave shoes and ran from my abusive relationship. Abuse comes in all forms-about 21 to be exact! The most common being Physical, Emotional, Verbal and Sexual! I was a victim of all of those. In fact, 15 of the 21 forms of abuse is what I suffered almost daily. An abuser carries a whole bag of games and tricks and what started as a great connection enabled me to let my guard down. I talk about this in my book, Love Should Not Hurt: Letting Go of the Pain to Live in Freedom. Like a vacuum, I was sucked in and afraid to leave. The longer I stayed, the more aggressive he became. He was an evil man. A bad, bad man.
At the worst times of his attacks, I never called for help. He had such a hatred for police that I honestly felt like if I called authorities, I would be putting them in danger. I feared and knew he would use abuse or weapons on an officer with no shame so I never called them to my door! When you live everyday in fear, when you feel like you are walking on eggshells every second you have to be so careful about your actions and thoughts of leaving. When there were good days, those were the scariest of all. You know it won’t last long and you wait for the next series of abuse. A plate broken over my head because there was not enough salt on the food, thrown down stairs because laundry is not caught up enough, being pinned by my throat or riffles in my face because I dared to question or have an opinion of his actions. That was me for 6 years! I actually shake as I type this because talking about it is so surreal. As if I am telling someone else’s story. I lived in a sort of fog-vortex for all those years and even 8 years later and happily married it is hard to believe how I lived back then.
In my book, I explain what series of events led me to take action and leave. Simply put, I suspected he was falling for the new neighbor so I encouraged it! Yes! I denied requests to hang out there and let him go alone and then prayed! It took me a few months of praying and waiting for my sign to leave. Part of the preparation was knowing that my odds of leaving alive were slim so I was also preparing for death! You heard me right-I was at complete peace with death. I left a note with one friend in case I didn’t make it and told my plans to my boss at the time so someone knew to check up on me if I went missing. I was at complete peace because death to me was better than living the way I was. Don’t get me wrong- I was never OK with the idea of taking my life. Just that death to me was worth the risk of leaving! So I did it. I left. I stayed quiet for a while and the only time I heard from him was about 2 days later and he gave me all his apologies and come home speeches and it was so aggravating to me. It makes me cringe thinking about that call. He just told me “OK- you are right! I do not deserve you and I am sorry and I am not leaving here in case you ever decide to come back”. It took me a long, long time to stop living in paranoia! I felt that was too easy-he gave up too easily! To this day I have never heard from him.
Did you know…
74% of Americans know someone who is or has been abused?
If I were to look back on who I was before I entered my abusive relationship, I would have said I would recognize an abuser. I would never fall into a trap like that! I was educated, had a lot of friends and was enjoying life so much and I would never let anyone just come take that from me! Not only did I get sucked into the abuse vacuum, I thought I was alone for so long! Only recently have I started sharing my story as sharing it is the hardest thing of all after leaving such a relationship-it has taken me over 8 years to talk about it-but I have had so many readers and followers as well as close friends contact me with their stories. I had no idea how surrounded I was!
96% of domestic violence victims experience problems at work due to the abuse
This statistic does not surprise me at all! I lost several jobs while in that relationship. Some due to me calling in whether forced by my boyfriend or because the scars were too obvious. He would call angrily at work, come find me and walk in yelling and one by one, employers just got rid of me. I understood though-they have a business and drama is not good for business. My last job I had gave me a connection with my boss I will never forget. It is in her I confided in as to my plan the night I left and she was the last person I saw that night in the town I left. I was to show up and explain why I would not be returning to work. With no questions asked or harsh feelings, I got the “Go! Don’t worry about us! Leave-Now!” talk! I knew they knew already what I lived through. They saw the stress and scars!
Survivors often return to their abusive relationships because they can’t support themselves and their children. It may seem safer then facing a life of grinding poverty.
This is a very true statement. I never understood this as I heard of others returning to their abusers. For one- I did not have children with this man I dated and I would have never returned-never! But, as I talk to others and read others stories-so many do return! They return out of a lack of self confidence that coincidentally they were robbed of at the hands of their abusers to start with. They feel they have no where to turn! Remember what I said above about walking on egg shells all the time. If you are being abused and you want to leave, you are NOT going to start researching on your own for help. Lord knows the trouble that would come to you if your abuser caught you doing this research. An abused mind has been told no one cares about them. They have been told no one loves them (but the abuser). The mind after leaving is constantly waiting for the next attack to occur and when it doesn’t come because the victim has left, the abuser wants revenge and the victim becomes paranoid. Going back may seem like the safest method at the time. It takes friends and those close to you to help.
If you know someone who is being abused-help do that research for them. Help give them the confidence they have somewhere to go. That was part of my plan to leave-that I had somewhere safe to stay that he did not know about. I was able to hide out and survive with the financial help of family and friends. To just leave with no plan is impossible. And it is impossible to conduct a plan when you are afraid of revealing so! Leaving then standing in the middle of life with a child-battered and emotionally unstable will make you do irrational things. So irrational that if a victim feels uncomforted or insecure-they go back! Sometimes because going back can mean you have your eyes on him again. To leave and not know where he is, what he knows and if he is following you is the worst feeling you can ever imagine!
If you need a place to start as a victim, survivor or a family member of someone trapped, please see my Author page for links to my book: http://www.amazon.com/Erinn-Sluka/e/B00KGHQ72M